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ESF & other IS: Crossing Over Problems for the F/W born

  1. #9
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    I liked being one of the older kids at school. Since my mum was a primary teacher, I could read before I started school and I think since I got that head start, I was always in the top of the class academically. It's easier to be in the top than to start from behind and catch up.

    My brother on the other hand was a January birthday and while he wasn't the youngest in the class, he was probably in the youngest 20% or so. He was also reading before school and was in the top of his class all the way through. I don't think he suffered too much for being one of the youngest.

    When I was in high school, the oldest person in my class (40 students since it was a small private school) was a full year older than me (she started out older and then missed a grade) and the youngest was a full year younger (started early and then carried through without repeating). Generally it wasn't an issue - it was just the way it was. We were all friends regardless of age. Just some of us were able to drive before others ;)
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  2. #10
    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
    This situation is dealt with frequently on some of the UK expat message boards who are moving to the US (and vice versa). Generally, at the younger primary school ages, many teachers follow the 'age in years' rather than the 'years in school' situation. A 7-year-old is placed with other 7-year-olds, not placed in a class that has all had say 3 years of formal school regardless of age.

    This was a very interesting thread involving a child who the parents tried to 'up a grade' given the fact they felt he had been in school an extra year vs. his peers in the US. That made him the youngest in the class, and it ended up that the school and parents agreed at mid-term to send the kid back to an age appropriate age.

    http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=643985
    Thank you Penguinsix for the insightful thread, which ties in aptly with the concerns on hand. Putting the child in an age appropriate year is more important then merely looking at the grade names and other unimportant numbers, and given the curriculum can be very different from one school to another (especially in HK), finding out what will be taught in each grade and how it matches with the child's previous education would be useful too, if that is possible.

    For children with 'borderline birth dates', i think the general consensus is putting the child behind instead of ahead, and i agree with that. Of course it all depends on each child. After reading and reviewing all your excellent inputs, i think i am more confident now in either trying out a year in K1 if we find a good one, or keep him in the Montessori school he is in right now, which is mixed age anyhow. In 2014 we'd formally put him in K1, hopefully finding a good thorough school we like. If in the future he would like to switch to an ESF, then hopefully we can transfer him as a case by case situation if needed.

  3. #11
    Sarah_Lotus is offline Registered User
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    Hi Jomama,

    I actually have four children, all of whom have been educated in Hong Kong. Because my husband is Chinese we started them all off in kindergarten in Chinese. The elder two went on to start primary school in Chinese. Unfortunately we have strong dyslexia running in our family and the children didn't cope well with the 'look and learn' style of the Chinese schools.

    So the first change I dealt with was from the Chinese school system to international school system. My children all changed from Chinese school to the Canadian International School. My eldest then graduated from this school and went to London for university. My second found that the maths and sciences at the Canadian school didn't suit his needs and so transferred to a boarding school in the UK for his last two years and studied A levels in maths, further maths and physics and then went on to study mathematics at university in Sheffield.

    My third disliked the Canadian school and so he left after Grade 7. We had applied to the ESF for him to join West Island school. Unfortunately he didn't get a place in time and went for two terms to KCIS before getting a place at West Island School. He was actually very happy at KCIS and the reasons we changed to WIS are for the extra help with the dyslexia which wasn't available at KCIS and also for the alternative to IB that WIS offers in Year 12 & 13. He finished at WIS this summer and is now studying civil engineering at university in the UK.

    My youngest moved from Canadian to Kennedy School at the beginning of Year 3 - she is now in Year 7 at WIS. Again the main reason for changing is to get help with the dyslexia. (And we've been very happy with the extra help.)

    In conclusion I would encourage you to find the school that your child will be happy in now and let the future take care of itself to some extent. Fifteen years is a very long time. It is possible that your child will need to change schools or systems for many different reasons before he graduates and is ready for university. It may be that the best school for him now is not the best school for him in six years time. If that is the case you need to worry about changing school when that happens not now.

    Very few of my children's friends have stayed in the same school (or school system) throughout their schooling. I think that changing schools is not that rare. And particularly as they get older towards the really important years just before going to university. Hong Kong has many different school systems and you might have to pick and choose which system is best for which child. This is why my elder three children have all used a different method (and school) to get to university. It is too early to say what will be best for my youngest but you can be sure that if a change of school is required for her to be successful then a change of school is what will happen.

    There is a lot of talk about how hard it is to get school places at the moment. And I agree that it is but just because it is difficult now doesn't mean it will be difficult in five or ten years. When my eldest was born 25 year ago everyone told me that I needed to get her name put on waiting lists at birth to get a place in a good international school. I didn't do this as she started her school life in Chinese school. But when the time came to move systems it was relatively easy to move (so long as you have the money to pay the fees.) But once again it has become hard to get an international place. I do not think that this situation of hard to get school places will continue for years - it may for the next few years but not the next ten.

    Best wishes,
    SARAH

  4. #12
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    I have mixed feelings about this and changed my opinion slightly over time. My oldest is May born, so fairly straight forward, she's in the same class regardless of the system. My twins, born end of November (turned 6 this week) are now in Year 2 at ESF. According to our European (or American, they were born there) they should have been a year behind. They are the youngest in the class.

    Did I have doubts? Yes, especially my boy who's technically the youngest, but also maturity wise, and was a very late speaker. But very switched on and I tend to think he's quite bright. However, we went through with the interview and both got in without a problem. They absolutely flew through Y1, both ending in the top of their classes for reading, well above their age apropriate level. They were the youngest one, but were able to make a huge amount of progress, while older ones, sometimes tend to have a less steep learning curve. This is quite an interesting article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/op...tart.html?_r=0.

    I've talked to teachers, especially at my children's (ESF) school. Most of the teachers are fairly against so-called redshirting. First of all, they say most children who are being kept behind (for particular reasons), are not necessarily the great performers the following year. Often these children continue to need some kind of additional support so holding them back doesn't simply or miraculously fix the problem, the reason they were initially held back. It's just makes is socially ackward, as they're now no longer in an age approriate class. The ones that are the youngest can make a huge amount of progress and those without any type of additional needs will easily catch up to their "normal" level, regardless of their age, so why holding them back if they simply can have a go, and see what they can achieve. Also, they say, it's their job as a teacher to make sure those children (all children) are being catered for. Holding them back sounds like an easy fix for a school or class not having to deal with these "less mature" / "not ready" children, but as they say themselves, that's the teacher's job to take care of that and make it work. A good teacher will and can deal with that.

    I can still see why I considered it, but I am grateful that the school assured me there was no reason to do so, plus somebody has to be the youngest in their class. They've done great, made a huge amount of progress and are doing what they're supposed to be doing. And I truly believe that most children (excluding some that have additional needs) would be able to do so. My children are switched on, but by no means geniuses, and they handle fine.

    If we ever move elsewhere, we could face the possibility of them moving down, but we'll see when that time comes, and where they're at then. It's too early to think about that.

  5. #13
    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah_Lotus View Post
    Hi Jomama,

    I actually have four children, all of whom have been educated in Hong Kong. Because my husband is Chinese we started them all off in kindergarten in Chinese. The elder two went on to start primary school in Chinese...

    In conclusion I would encourage you to find the school that your child will be happy in now and let the future take care of itself to some extent. Fifteen years is a very long time..

    Very few of my children's friends have stayed in the same school (or school system) throughout their schooling. I think that changing schools is not that rare. And particularly as they get older towards the really important years just before going to university...

    There is a lot of talk about how hard it is to get school places at the moment. And I agree that it is but just because it is difficult now doesn't mean it will be difficult in five or ten years...But once again it has become hard to get an international place. I do not think that this situation of hard to get school places will continue for years - it may for the next few years but not the next ten.

    Best wishes,
    SARAH
    Thank you Sarah for your comforting sharing. True, there is a great possibility that the kids will change school from now until high school graduation, even if we stay within Hong Kong until then. That is the reason why I am voicing my concern here, to find out what would happen if my borderline birth-date kid switch from school to school with a different birth year vs. school year calculation. I am glad to find out that in the long run this will hopefully be a non-issue, so i just have to make sure he's in comfortable situation before he enters P1.

    As for school places in HK, the scenery has really changed in the last few years. I know a friend who worked at Crown Relocation, and they compiled a chart depicting the spaces available in EACH GRADE across all Int'l schools in Hong Kong. Sad to say, quite a few schools have NO space available in ALL GRADES from Year 1-13, including CDNIS. I can only foresee that the situation will become worse in a few years' time. I do hope that my son will have good options available when the time comes for him to change schools.

  6. #14
    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by MommyTo3 View Post
    I have mixed feelings about this and changed my opinion slightly over time... My twins, born end of November (turned 6 this week) are now in Year 2 at ESF. According to our European (or American, they were born there) they should have been a year behind. They are the youngest in the class.

    Did I have doubts? Yes, especially my boy who's technically the youngest...

    I've talked to teachers, especially at my children's (ESF) school. Most of the teachers are fairly against so-called redshirting... It's just makes is socially ackward, as they're now no longer in an age approriate class...

    I can still see why I considered it, but I am grateful that the school assured me there was no reason to do so...And I truly believe that most children (excluding some that have additional needs) would be able to do so. My children are switched on, but by no means geniuses, and they handle fine.

    If we ever move elsewhere, we could face the possibility of them moving down, but we'll see when that time comes, and where they're at then. It's too early to think about that.
    Thanks MommyTo3, for your input. I read the article from your link and it helps me to see additional research that endorse younger children in the class (I read other research that leans toward the other side, stating the benefit run up to college entrance, having more kids born in Jan entering University then kids born in Aug ratio-wise.) Anyhow at the end of the day, i do think it really depends on the kid.

    I have by all means no intention of keeping my son behind a year in accordance to the birth dates acceptance prescribed by the school. (Meaning, for schools accepting Jan 1-Dec 31 born, i'm happy that my Nov born is one of the youngest; and for schools accepting Sept 1 - Aug 31, i'm fine too that he'll be one of the older kids.) Again, nowadays the choice is not entirely in my hand. I know too many bright kids who did not get a single spot after applying for several schools. My concern is that if he want to switch school, he might run into the age gap problem.

    I guess the main switch would be from kindie to primary. If i want my son to go to a thorough-train school for K1 in 2013, my very few options are Anfield, International Montessori School (which technically not K1 because it is mixed age) and CDNIS (the chance is VERY slim as they have only 40 spots and thousands of applicants, and kids with sibling priority will probably claim most of those). Victoria has already rejected him, probably because he's one of the youngest in the interview. I'm still waiting to hear from ESF Tsing Yi, but my worry is that he'll be in Cat 2 when applying for a Primary spot (his grandparents speaks Cantonese to him), so my safer bet is to get him into a thorough-train school now instead.

    My options open up next year as the schools i mentioned in my initial thread will be able to accept him (AISHK, ICS, CIS, HKIS, GSIS - all accepting kids born Sept 1- Aug 31), but that also mean we'll have to give up ESF until he's older and apply as an individual case, if there's still room for him, that is. Yes, my head is exploding this very moment...

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